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Native Irish speaking kids speak better English!

Posted by Sally O'Brien, on 20/11/2014. Native Irish speaking kids speak better English!Tags: Education And Politics

According to RTE today, a report carried out by an Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta (COGG), an agency of the Department of Education which provides supports to Irish schools around the country, has found that children who are native Irish speakers have better linguistic competency in English rather than Irish.

For the report, researchers examined the linguistic ability of children (between 7 and 12) whose first language is Irish, and found that their competency in English surpassed that in Irish.


Researchers found that there were several reasons for native Irish speaking children’s language being compromised:

The earlier children are exposed to bilingualism in English and Irish, the more their Irish suffers.
Those who attend English speaking schools had the lowest levels of Irish competency.
Decline of young Irish speakers in Gaeltacht areas, therefore lack of ‘everyday speaking’ communication between children in Irish.


The report highlighted the need to address this issue otherwise the safety of the Irish language is at stake, with fewer than 1000 children who are native Irish speakers in Gaeltacht area primary schools. Recommendations include state support for native Irish speakers with measures to promote reading, and encouraging parents to mix their children with other Irish speakers in home and recreational settings.

The report, 'Analysis of Bilingual Competence: Language Acquisition among young people in the Gaeltacht', is being launched in Dublin this morning.


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